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ASU dance alum joins renowned NYC dance company

J. Bouey hopes to use position to inspire change in the dance world

May 23, 2019

When J. Bouey took their first dance class as a teenager in south Phoenix, they just wanted to be a stronger captain for their little-known high school step team. Now, after years of doubts and difficulties, the Arizona State University alum is joining the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in New York City, one of the most renowned and innovative dance groups in the world.

“I started taking dance classes at 15 and never thought I could be a professional dancer back then,” Bouey said. “I created backup plans during every stage of my dance education, picking up skills that serve me well to this day but served as a safety net in case my fears of failure manifested.” Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey ASU dance alum J. Bouey. Photo by Malcolm-X Betts Download Full Image

When Bouey chose to attend the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, they majored in dance education even though they really wanted to focus on dance performance. But then, a postmodern contemporary dance course professor told Bouey they could make it as a professional dancer.

“This truly broke this glass ceiling I believed was above me and my dreams of dancing in the companies I admired, like Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company,” Bouey said.

With one year of college left, Bouey changed their major from dance education to dance and filled the following year with technique classes to prepare for the rigor of what they assumed New York City and company life would require. Bouey said their time at ASU also helped them craft their artistic voice and the questions they wanted to explore.

“After graduating and engaging with the dance community in New York City, I learned that we were asked to be deeply interrogative artists while many other programs were teaching students to simply follow directions,” Bouey said. “The dance world is evolving to be more in line with what the School of Film, Dance and Theatre is teaching.”

Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey dancing

ASU dance alum J Bouey (left). Photo by Maria Baranova

Since graduating in 2014, Bouey has been living the life of a freelance dancer — auditioning for companies and projects, dancing within companies and with choreographers, creating their own work, teaching and founding and co-hosting the Dance Union Podcast, which explores the challenges of life as a dancer and provides tips and resources.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to keep all of my revenue coming from dance and creative projects since moving to New York,” Bouey said.

The dance life has not been easy for Bouey, which is one reason why joining the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane means so much.  

“I am a black person from South Central Los Angeles who went to high school on the south side of Phoenix,” said Bouey, who helped pay for school and living expenses at ASU by working at the IHOP that used to be across the street from ASU Gammage. “My family and I battled poverty throughout my dance training, and it was always apparent to me how money/wealth, race and class, among many other marginalizing identities, gave some access to dance training and left many of my friends and classmates outside of the studios. We had fears of not ‘making it’ after college because we spent our time outside of class working instead of networking, training and traveling. This company position with BTJ/AZ means that the work that systemic oppression required me to do to succeed has placed me in a position where my voice might be heard better.”

Photo of ASU dance alum J. Bouey dancing

ASU dance alum J. Bouey. Photo by David Gonsier

Bouey said now that their dreams of joining a company have come true, it’s time to dream bigger — to use their voice to change the dance world.

Bouey wants to see an end to sexual harassment, abuse of power and inadequate payment structures and wants to help to make dance more accessible to trans and gender nonconforming artists, artists living with disabilities and artists living with mental health challenges.

“My dream is to see a union that specifically represents dance artists and movement practitioners within my lifetime, and I know this company position is premium fuel to help make that happen,” Bouey said. “This position and visibility is a form of privilege, and just like my male privilege, I intend to use every ounce of it to dismantle systems of oppression.”

In addition to making changes in the dance world, Bouey also hopes sharing their story inspires and encourages others to pursue their own dreams.

“Nothing makes me happier than sharing my successes with my black and brown students in the Bronx, and Crown Heights, and Brownsville, neighborhoods like the ones I grew up in South Central L.A. and Phoenix,” Bouey said. “Because they deserve to see people who share their experiences move through the fears and manifest a wholehearted life.”

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator, School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute


ASU announces seven 2019 Practices for Change fellows

May 17, 2019

The National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation at Arizona State University will welcome seven Practices for Change fellows from around the country to ASU’s Tempe campus this summer.

The Practices for Change fellowship is funded in part by an Our Town/Knowledge Building Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The fellowship supports individuals with experience using arts, culture and design within other sectors — like health, transportation, planning, justice and the environment — in order to build stronger, more equitable communities.  ASU sign The Practices for Change fellowship supports individuals with experience using arts, culture and design within other sectors — like health, transportation, planning, justice and the environment — in order to build stronger, more equitable communities. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now Download Full Image

“Increasingly, across the nation, artists and designers are working outside of studios and stages in order to deploy their creativity and imagination in other spaces to help drive positive change,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “This fellowship is intended to lift up and support this non-traditional way of working across the cultural sector.”

“We launched the National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation, with our partner ASU Gammage, precisely to do this important work and be the national space for prototyping, incubating and scaling critical use-inspired practice, policy and peer networks,” Tepper said. “The Practices of Change fellowship will help us shift how people see the role of artists and designers — placing them at the center of solutions for public good.”

“Creative practices have the ability to transform non-arts systems,” said Jen Cole, director of the National Accelerator. “We are thrilled to support a cohort of leaders using creative practices to advance their work in sectors beyond the arts. This type of creative equitable work, embedded within community development, is still largely invisible and under-supported — we aim to be a part of the movement of changing how this work can be supported and recognized.”

Practices for Change is one of only a handful of opportunities that support the work that takes place between artists/designers and non-arts partners. Through the fellowship, the National Accelerator hopes to spotlight this essential intermediary role and expand this field of practice. The fellowship is intended as a peer cohort, so that ASU, the NEA and others can better understand how to support artists/designers working in non-traditional ways with new partners to transform practice and public policy for public good.

The selected national fellows work within sectors such as health, justice, sustainability, housing, planning and community development. During the yearlong program, fellows will work in tandem with ASU faculty and staff as well as mentors with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice to expand their own practical work and document and share learning from their on-ground experiences.

The fellows will document their work and contribute to case studies, a podcast and a national convening in 2020 where they will connect with others working in the “middle ground” between artistic practice and public policy.

The Practices for Change Fellowship includes:  

• A non-restricted stipend of $10,000.   

• Travel reimbursement funding for travel to ASU.   

• Mentorship and support from the Center for Performance and Civic Practice and ASU staff and faculty.   

• Access to resources and support from ASU, including student and research connection as well as engagement with public policy leaders and other fellows.   


• July 22–23, 2019: Program launch in Tempe with all fellows and Center for Performance and Civic Practice.

• October/November 2019: Fellows in Tempe/Phoenix for required engagement (with students, faculty and staff) as related to their research and practice.

• February/March 2020: Fellows in Tempe/Phoenix for required engagement (with students, faculty and staff) as related to their research and practice.

• April/May 2020: Program close and public convening in Tempe/Phoenix.

2019–2020 Practices for Change Fellows  

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Pamela Bridgeforth

Pamela Bridgeforth, director of programs for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, oversees PACDC’s Member Services programs and launched its Community Development Leadership Institute, which serves as a training and technical assistance umbrella for the association’s 130 organizations and other practitioners working to advance equitable neighborhood revitalization. In addition to leading the creation of two placemaking initiatives (The Third Space Initiative and Art-Powered Places) in collaboration with member organizations, artists, arts organizations and community groups, she convenes learning sessions and workshops on placemaking for the sector and produced a placemaking toolkit featured as part of the 2018 edition of PACDC Magazine: Art, Equity + Place: Creating Neighborhood Health, Happiness, and Well-Being with Art. Prior to joining PACDC, she served as executive director of the Walt Whitman Arts Center. She is an adviser and board member of the Camden Repertory Theatre. 

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Carrie Christensen 
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Carrie Christensen’s work in design, planning, education and community engagement falls at the intersection of equity and the environment. With a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Minnesota and a BA in urban studies from Stanford University, her cross-sector work combines facilitation, design thinking, community organizing, project management, data analysis, curation, planning and environmental design processes. Christensen is a published author, an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota, a 2001 Fulbright Scholar and a 2010 Creative Community Leadership Institute Fellow. She combines facilitation, creative expression and qualitative data methods to bring diverse community voices into planning and design. Christensen is a senior planner at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, where she works on park policy, design and community engagement. 

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Melissa Liu 
Brooklyn, New York 

Melissa Liu has worked at the intersections of art, culture and education over the past decade and is currently interested in intersecting these areas to support non-profit services for New York's Chinatown community as program site director with Immigrant Social Services Inc. Liu has advocated for people of color and immigrants from different class backgrounds and abilities as an administrative worker, organizer and artist through collaborating with groups and networks including Admin, Zines4Equity, Museum Hue and Occupy Wall Street Arts and Labor. Liu's experience comes from having supported programs, projects and workshops with the Getty Foundation, Hammer and Fowler Museums at UCLA, Columbia University (School of the Arts, Center for Oral History and Business School), College Arts Association, Kelly Street Community Garden in the Bronx, The Laundromat Project, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and Borough of Manhattan Community College. 

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Ruby López Harper
Washington, D.C. 

Mexican, mother, wife, dancer, photographer, poet and social justice warrior: Ruby López Harper is the director of Local Arts Services for Americans for the Arts. She is the co-chair for the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, serves as chair of the Gard Foundation, serves on the board for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and serves on the WETA Community Advisory Council. Harper’s work has focused on grantmaking, supporting individual artists, community development, economic development and tourism, and public art. She draws on a varied background that includes corporate affairs, marketing and communications and business administration. She served on the Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts and was the primary contact for the Arts and Economic Impact Study for Central Ohio. She is a 2017 National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Advocacy Leadership Institute Fellow and Class of 2017 American Express Leadership Academy alum. 

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Mallory Rukhsana Nezam
Oakland, California 

Mallory Rukhsana Nezam is a public artist and urban strategist integrating community development, socially engaged art and urban planning. She works with government entities, grassroots cultural organizations and artists to bring arts and equity into community planning, and has helped developed arts programs at Smart Growth America, PolicyLink and Metropolitan Area Planning Council. As an artist and cultural producer, she uses performance and play in public spaces to disarm and connect. A St. Louis, Missouri, native, she is the founder of St. Louis Improv Anywhere and was involved in many artworks and interventions as an artist and activist after the death of Mike Brown, in Ferguson. Nezam’s research focuses on the racial equity impacts of artist residencies in local government. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard University in art, design and the public domain. 

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Tara Mei Smith 
New York

Tara Mei Smith is passionate about creating and supporting sustainable and equitable frameworks so that people and places can thrive for generations to come. She has over 12 years of experience working on innovative, catalytic projects. Her background includes work as a womenswear designer and supply chain manager (as part of Proenza Schouler’s CFDA award-winning team and as head designer at Waitex), as a sustainability consultant at Field Guide and as a community planner and environmental stewardship director at Extra Terrestrial Projects. She has organized thought leadership convenings such as Moat Oracle’s inaugural summit on the future of digital attention, Attention.io and The Untokening Durham mobility conference. Recently she worked with a coalition of artists and community members to create a place-based equitable engagement blueprint for all future projects in Durham, North Carolina. Her academic training is in materials chemistry and urban studies at Brown University and fashion design at F.I.T. She is an Audubon Toyota Conservation Innovation Fellow and Next City Vanguard. 

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Nella Young 

Nella Young is a senior program director at Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit in housing and community development. With a background in experiential education and asset-based planning, Young is interested in how creative expression can be harnessed as a force for greater social cohesion, resilience and equity. Young is a champion for the integration of culture and creativity into community development and is responsible for launching two influential grant programs at Enterprise: Collaborative Actions and Climate & Cultural Resilience. She is part of Enterprise’s efforts to take an increasingly holistic, place-based approach to community development that puts residents, and their culture, at the center. Young holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, where she majored in studio arts. 

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Music professor to host international brass conference at ASU

May 17, 2019

Deanna Swoboda, associate professor in the ASU School of Music, has enjoyed a vibrant career as a performer, educator and entrepreneur, but she said one of her most challenging roles yet is serving as the official conference host for 500-plus brass players at the International Women’s Brass Conference at ASU on May 21–25. 

Swoboda, an Eastman tuba artist, carved a path for herself as a tuba player performing and teaching around the world when there were only a handful of women with careers playing tuba and serving as role models for female musicians. She has played the tuba in hundreds of concerts, solo recitals and presentations throughout the U.S. and Europe; taught tuba and euphonium; developed music and entrepreneurship programs; coached chamber music; and presented at prestigious conferences and meetings as an advocate for music education. Swoboda, an ASU alumnus (DMA '10), co-hosted the 2012 conference at Western Michigan University and was invited by IWBC to host the international conference held at the ASU School of Music this year. Deanna Swoboda ASU School of Music Associate Professor Deanna Swoboda carved a path for herself as a tuba player performing and teaching around the world when there were only a handful of women with careers playing tuba and serving as role models for female musicians. Download Full Image

“I was excited to accept the IWBC invitation to host the conference as it features women brass players, is a great recruiting opportunity for potential students and provides great visibility for ASU,” Swoboda said.

She said IWBC is the largest conference she has ever been involved with and this year’s conference has record numbers of registrations and competitors. Conference attendees will be a combination of mostly professors and college students from different universities, some professional performers and some high school students. The conference is open to all genders but features mostly women and new works, and conference featured artists include seven women who have held or still hold major prominent brass positions.

“One of my best hopes for this conference is to make women in music — specifically women brass players and women composers — more visible to the global community,” said Swoboda.

The conference schedule includes recitals, presentations, master classes, mock auditions, competitions, exhibits and evening concerts open to the public. There are solo and small ensemble competitions throughout three days, with 150 to 200 competitors and mock auditions for orchestras and military bands. Two of the evening concerts will open with student ensembles. All participants have the opportunity to play in an ensemble led by a professional. The various ensembles, including euphonium, horn, trumpet and trombone, will perform in concert on Saturday. The U.S. Army Bands for Horn and Tuba, a conference exhibitor, will also be holding auditions on Saturday for available positions in their horn and tuba bands.

Evening concerts will be held at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre in the Music Building on ASU’s Tempe campus and are open to the public:

May 22, 7:30 p.m.: Tempe Winds with Phoenix Brass Collective

May 23, 7 p.m.: Athena Brass Band

May 24, 7 p.m.: Women in Jazz

May 25, 7:30 p.m.: Monarch Brass Ensemble

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music


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What's in the cards for making a community work on Mars?

May 17, 2019

ASU Interplanetary Initiative card game explores off-world colony cooperation — critical for sustaining social units in space

Living in space is going to present problems. Lots of them. Heat. Cold. Radiation. Is the company liable for overtime pay when the ship wakes you from cryosleep ahead of time?

One of the more significant problems will, of course, be each other. Don’t cooperate down here, and it just means the neighbors won’t be over for a Saturday barbecue again. Do it up there, and everyone dies.

What legal, political and social norms will govern space exploration? What social structures and practices are necessary to sustain a social unit in space indefinitely?

Port of Mars” is a card game created by Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative to see how cooperation might shake out in an off-world colony.

Players are members of an early Martian settlement charged with working together to sustain the welfare of the community. Player actions are tracked and behavior analyzed. Researchers examine that data, looking for what behaviors, structures and systems worked, and what failed. Each instance of gameplay is a simulation, a modeling exercise for future space missions.

Project lead Lance Gharavi, an associate professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and affiliated faculty with the School of Earth and Space Exploration, calls Port of Mars “a social science experiment cosplaying as a game.”

“As I like to say, Port of Mars is a rehearsal for the future,” Gharavi said.

In that future, resources will have to be managed and shared. At first glance that seems simple.

Look closer. Walk-only zones on campus are a shared resource that are a constant source of negotiation among travelers. Electric scooters and their ban are another example of how views differ on the management of shared resources.

Marco Janssen, lead social scientist on the project, is an expert in how communities manage shared resources, such as groundwater resources.

“When I got introduced to the Port of Mars project, I noticed that the problems future space explorers will experience are similar to farmers in India who use groundwater, or residents in Mexico City trying to derive potable water,” said Janssen, a professor in the School of Sustainability and director of the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment. “They have to invest time and effort in building and maintaining shared infrastructure. However, there is an important difference on Mars. The consequences of not sufficient cooperation in building and maintaining shared infrastructure quickly end up to a lack of oxygen or another life support system. Hence the consequence of insufficient contributions can lead to the death of the Mars habitat.”

Players can invest in an opportunity with direct benefit to them, or they can invest in the health of the community.

“If the total investment in community health was not sufficient at any time, it was game over and nobody received any rewards,” Janssen said. (Janssen co-ran a project a couple of years ago where eight students lived in the Mohave desert on four gallons of water a day and no air conditioning.)

Space exploration is not, as is frequently stated, a way to start over again on another planet, Janssen said.

“The level of cooperation and coordination needed to succeed are much higher than we have observed in large-scale societies on planet Earth,” he said. “Although there might be a planet B, we need to be able to address problems like climate change and infectious diseases effectively on planet Earth before a society on Mars is a viable option. This demonstrates that space research also provide venues for social science to explore cooperation in extreme conditions which can help to solve existing problems at planet Earth.”

The game will help us understand some of the social aspects of inhabiting Mars, Tanya Harrison said. Mars is a familiar place to Harrison, a planetary scientist and member of the Mars Opportunity Rover’s science team.

“The technology is likely easier for us to deal with than the human factor, because traveling to and living on Mars will be something completely new to humanity,” Harrison said. “No level of simulations will truly be able to prepare us (in my opinion), but doing research like this can at least help us better understand the social challenges we might face so that we can find ways to mitigate the potential damages.”

Currently the game is only available to ASU students because data from results has to be collected.

ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative is a pan-university effort to build the future of humans in space and create a bolder and better society. Questions of our space future across the whole landscape of human inquiry need to be explored by teams integrating across the public-private-university sectors.

Top Illustration by Titus Lunter

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now


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Essential reading: Books to light your path to the future

May 7, 2019

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz Reader

Read about the lives of exceptionally accomplished people and you’ll find many were helped along the road to success by some especially edifying or inspiring knowledge or wisdom.

Often those invigorating insights were found in a book and in subject matter far afield of their sphere of professional expertise.

Here, in the eighth annual Essential Reading feature, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering faculty and staff members again recommend books they believe offer valuable lessons students can apply to their career pursuits — as well as their lives outside of work — or simply provide a unique perspective on an intriguing topic.

For more book recommendations, see links at the end of the article to previous Essential Reading features.

'Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,' by Neil Degrasse Tyson

Recommended by Christopher Buneo, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering

Christopher Buneo

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in case you don’t know, is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of the radio and TV show "StarTalk." This book, one of several he has written, was given to me by my young nephew as a gift, presumably because it was about science and was a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.

At first, I found the lack of scientific detail to be a bit frustrating. But once I set that aside, I started to really enjoy the book. Its value is not in presenting a complete picture of extremely complex astrophysical phenomena. What I found most valuable is how small it made me feel, or rather how small it made my problems seem. The magnitudes of the distances and forces at play in the universe that are described by Tyson challenge human comprehension. But when one tries to envision these phenomena, one cannot help but view their own day-to-day difficulties in a different light. So, in that way, I found the book to be very grounding, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a relatively quick read and a bit of cosmic perspective.

'Irresistible,' by Adam Alter

Recommended by Junseok Chae, associate dean for research and professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Junseok Chae

Think about how often and for how long many of us use our mobile phones each day. Only about 15 years ago, we were not on our phones anywhere near the amount of time as we are today, and we got along just fine. It seems we are now addicted to this technology. So, how did we get addicted and how do we overcome it? Alter’s book starts by describing when Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s iPad in January 2010. Jobs proudly showed off the new cutting-edge technology. But do you know he kept his own children from using it?

I’m not a behavioral scientist, but the title and a review of the book lured me into reading it. The author clearly delivers his claim about the addiction — presenting a strong argument that many of us are also addicted to the internet (which is true of me, in fact) — and systematically analyzes what characterizes these types of addictions. Alter introduces methods he believes could help us overcome such strong dependencies, which he says can be much more severe than we think — impacting a wide range of our physical behavior as well as our social interaction. Today’s technological advances are a great outcome of beautifully crafted engineering, but this book makes it clear we need the wisdom to avoid the undesirable side effects of using our ever-present gadgets.

'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,' by Angela Duckworth

Recommended by Nikhilesh Chawla, professor of materials science and engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy

Nik Chawla

Ever wonder what qualities are needed to be successful? Angela Duckworth goes through a compelling analysis, with quantitative data and numerous examples cutting across many areas and disciplines. What she shows is that talent and intelligence are not enough to succeed.

In fact, a better marker for success is grit. Simply defined, it is the ability to persevere and be persistent, working hard combined with a passion for what you do. The ability to get up, dust yourself off and continue to strive to be the best will help you immensely in your pursuits. As you navigate through challenges in life, it is this unique quality — grit — that is most likely to get you through!

'How to Be Here,' by Rob Bell

Recommended by Brooke Coley, assistant professor of engineering in The Polytechnic School 

Brooke coley

This is an amazing story (subtitled “A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living”) that inspires readers with ideas to contemplate as we embark upon our life’s journeys. It helps you think about your passions and dreams and a plan to actualize them. The concept of ikigai — a Japanese word symbolizing “a reason for being” — is introduced as a lens through which to process life. Rob Bell’s anecdotes position the reader to explore the significance of life and living it forwardly and abundantly.

The book resonates as one of few I have read that I wish I had come across earlier in life. Its lessons are timeless, and the perspective it creates is imperative and essential for a life of fulfillment and joy. It inspires an awareness of the importance of every moment. This book helps us to really hear our inner voices, to think about what matters most to us, to pursue those things wholeheartedly and to be present in every moment in the process. Bell helps us see that when it’s all said and done, it’s not the accomplishments that will matter most, but the joy we have experienced in those rare moments.

'The Master and Margarita,' by Mikhail Bulgakov 

Recommended by Anca Delgado, assistant professor of environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment

Anca Delgado

This book is among my favorites because it is funny, strongly satirical, and at the same time presents intriguing perspectives on the concept of evil and topics such as religion and politics. One plot is set in Moscow in the 1930s. Here, the Devil, a mysterious professor and magician, arrives with a posse of creatures who create mayhem for the literary elite. The other takes place in Jerusalem during the time of Pontius Pilate and the trial of Yeshua Ha-Notsri (Jesus of Nazareth).

I really appreciate the work of other writers of the same literary era as Bulgakov. Among my favorite books are “Omon Ra,” a novel by Victor Pelevin and “Moscow to the End of the Line,” a humorous story that is also a social commentary, by Venedikt Erofeev. The last book I read was “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings.” Like “The Master and Margarita,” all of these stories tell fantastical tales that are entertaining while also examining politics, time, philosophy, love, human frailties and many of life’s biggest challenges.

'Quicksilver,' 'The Confusion,' 'The System of the World,” by Neal Stephenson 

Recommended by Keith D. Hjelmstad, President’s Professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment

Keith Hjelmstad

I had the opportunity to work with science fiction writer Neal Stephenson a few years ago after he contacted me and asked if it was possible to build a tower 20 kilometers tall. Working with him on this project inspired me to read all of his books (I have read 11 so far). It was really hard to pick from that great list, so I cheated a bit and chose “The Baroque Cycle,” a trilogy that includes the books “Quicksilver,” “The Confusion” and “The System of the World.”

Stephenson is a gifted writer of historical fiction, and these books provide a fun romp through one of the most important periods of history for engineers — the times of Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, Christiaan Huygens, Robert Hooke and many other giants of science and mathematics who roamed the Earth in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The echoes of this important period of history still reverberate in the academic lives of today’s engineering students. Stephenson’s novels are full of action, and he invents a set of fictional characters that interact seamlessly with real historical figures. Engineering students should know something about the history of their field, and these well-researched books provide a delightful way to gain insight into that history.

'Becoming,' by Michelle Obama

Recommended by Nadia Kellam, associate professor of engineering in The Polytechnic School

Nadia Kellam

In this engaging, authentic and deeply personal story, Michelle Obama takes the reader back to her childhood as she grew up in a small apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Her story continues through high school, college, law school, into a legal career and then a pivot to finding a more meaningful job, getting married, having two daughters and becoming the first lady of the United States. Her story illustrates what it was like for her to grow up as a black woman and the many ways that she overcame barriers and exceeded expectations in her path to becoming who she is today.

This book can be especially empowering for students from underrepresented groups, as these students oftentimes overcome significant barriers during their own journeys to reach their dreams and aspirations. Students who are not from underrepresented groups can begin to learn about systemic racism, how it persists throughout our society, and ways of becoming more empathetic and recognizing their own privilege. “Becoming” has something for everyone, as we all work to develop our voice, construct our own stories and reflect on how our story shapes who we are becoming.

'Strengthsfinder 2.0,' by Tom Rath

Recommended by Lauren Levin, manager of academic services in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Lauren Levin

Do you spend the majority of your time fixating on overcoming your weaknesses, or do you use your natural talents to move forward in life? Gallup, the international analytics and advice company, has spent decades studying people’s talents as they relate to employee engagement at work and has concluded the vast majority of people do not have the opportunity to focus on what they do best in the workplace.

“From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths,” said author Tom Rath. We spend considerable time trying to add talent where little exists rather than focusing on the things we do best. Rath’s compact book builds on work by the “father of strengths-based psychology” Don Clifton and includes an assessment designed to identify your talents and strengths.  Knowing your top five talent themes provides you with guiding principles to help put a strengths-based action plan to work to align your goals — including career aspirations — with your natural talents. By focusing on what we do best, we are likely to find ourselves in an environment that is much more positive and productive, leading to our own happiness and the happiness of those around us. 

'Outliers: The Story of Success,' by Malcolm Gladwell 

Recommended by Baoxin Li, professor of computer science and engineering and program chair in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering

Baoxin li

We often attribute the tremendous achievements of famous and accomplished people to their extraordinary personal traits. Whether it is an extremely high IQ, an unusual talent for art or sports, or exceptional business acumen, it has to be something far from ordinary — it has to be an “outlier.” In this book, Malcolm Gladwell examines the elements contributing to the success of those high-achieving people from a very refreshing angle: how often-overlooked and seemingly mundane factors like family, cultural background, socioeconomic status, diligence or simply unusual opportunities may have played a critical role in their success.

The author skillfully weaves his arguments into many real-life stories focusing on very diverse events and people, from Canadian hockey games to Korean plane crashes, and from Bill Gates to a Jamaican girl named Joyce (you will learn who she is in the book), making “Outliers” irresistibly entertaining yet intellectually stimulating at the same time. After reading this book, you will likely have some fresh perspectives for understanding success, not only in terms of figuring out how the success of many prominent people came about, but also in terms of appreciating how we — individuals, families or the society at large — could contribute to fostering an environment that will produce successful stories for more people.  

'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,' by Mark Haddon 

Recommended by Jennifer Velez, coordinator senior in the Engineering Student Outreach and Retention Program 

Jennifer Velez

In this fictional story, Mark Haddon reveals the inner mental workings of his protagonist, Christopher, who is autistic. When 15-year-old Christopher finds a neighbor’s dog stabbed with a pitchfork, he embarks on a hunt to find the killer. Throughout his investigation, Christopher meticulously compiles evidence while trying to navigate a world he doesn’t quite understand. 

He reminds me in some ways of the “Star Trek” character Data, painfully awkward in his interactions with other humans and yet sweet and a little bit tragic. Christopher soon finds that logic and keen observations aren’t enough. If he’s going to solve the mystery, he must look beyond simple facts and uncover the nuances of human emotion. This touching — and often funny — story is a lesson in empathy for both Christopher and readers alike.

Check out Essential Reading book recommendations from past years:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 20132012

Joe Kullman

Science writer , Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Teaching Artists Program graduates share new skills with students

May 7, 2019

Arizona State University students aren't the only ones to graduate beneath the ASU Gammage roof.

On April 22, 23 artists and teachers received their credentials to be certified teaching artists through ASU Gammage's Molly Blank Fund Teaching Artists Program (TAP). A group of TAP graduates, ready to help students with the methods they've learned. Download Full Image

TAP gives local artists and teachers the opportunity to learn how to implement artistic lesson plans into the classroom through the Kennedy Arts Integration Method.

The teaching artists who graduated all specialized in different artistic areas, including theater, music, storytelling, puppetry and visual arts.   

According to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, “Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.” 

“(The Kennedy Arts Integration method) has shown through research that it is effective in helping the kids retain what they learn and enjoy what they learn, said Desiree Ong, educational enrichment program manager for ASU Gammage.  

Not only are teachers and artists learning effective and innovative ways to teach students, but people from around the Valley can hire them to teach a lesson or lead a seminar. 

“We want to show the world that Phoenix has a thriving artist community,” Ong said. 

Hussein Mohamed, a graduate student at ASU, graduated from TAP with a focus in interdisciplinary arts and performance.   

“Now with the skills of this arts integration method, I can incorporate that into all of my international travels working with students,” Mohamed said. I feel I can be a lot more valuable as a future social worker, being able to teach certain lessons so that they can develop to their fullest potential or heal from any past traumas they might have had. 

Another graduate from TAP, Cheryl Mertz, has a background in teaching. Mertz spent her time in TAP focusing on theater, drama and storytelling.   

“There was a lot of growing within myself,” Mertz said. “I felt like a I came in with the education background piece, but definitely needed that artistry piece in order to help those students learn better in a more artful way.” 

Mertz said she is excited to watch more students grow through different methods of learning.   

"So many of our students struggle to tell what they know via paper and pencil, which is what testing is asking of them,” Mertz said. Through this program, I’m learning to help teachers understand that some of the most important skills can be better taught through art.” 

Marketing assistant, ASU Gammage

ASU-led NASA Psyche Mission invites the public to be ‘spacecrafty’

May 7, 2019

The ASU-led NASA Psyche Mission, a journey to a unique metal world, has been inspiring professional and amateur artists since the announcement of the mission’s selection by NASA in early 2017.

Since then, dozens of pieces of original art, inspired by the mission, have been posted by artists on social media and shared with the mission’s principal investigator, Lindy Elkins-Tanton. Works have included oil paintings and drawings of what the Psyche asteroid might look like, stickers designed with the Greek goddess Psyche on them, and even magic wands made of iron, with filings from iron meteorites in the tip, like the phoenix feather inside famous wizard Harry Potter's wand. A #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY submission in colored pencil from Psyche Mission program scientist Sarah Noble, who was inspired by the mission’s name, Psyche, which is the Greek word for “soul” and also sometimes “butterfly.” Download Full Image

“People from all over the world have shared images of art they have created, inspired by the Psyche mission,” Elkins-Tanton said. “The connection and communication between the artists, myself and the Psyche team feels deeply human and exactly the kind of inspiration, curiosity and creation we hope that space exploration engenders.”

In response to this public interest, the Psyche Mission team has created a formal platform, dubbed #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY, where the public can share their mission-inspired creations on the Psyche Mission website. The program is available to everyone with an interest in submitting an artistic piece, inspired by the mission, that can be shared online. 

“We believe that science and art complement each other,” said Cassie Bowman, Psyche mission co-investigator. “Whatever their interests or training, we invite the public to share with us how they’ve been inspired by our journey to a metal world.”

How to submit an artistic work to #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY

To get started, participants are encouraged to learn about the people, science, innovation and goals of the mission and what it might mean to the artists and their community.

Participants can then submit their creation using the #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY online form

Creations can be in any medium that can be shared online, including drawings, songs, stories, sculptures, dance, paintings, poems, crafts and other artistic expressions. Participants may also want to look at the artwork that has been created by the Psyche Inspired artists, a formal national program for undergraduate student artists. 

Psyche team members and their families have already begun to participate and share their creative works with #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY, like Sarah Noble, the mission’s program scientist who has contributed several works in colored pencil and watercolor and ink. “Art and science are both forms of creative problem solving, and creative problem solving is the heart and soul of any space mission,” Noble said.

‘Psyche Inspired’ national program for undergraduates

In addition to the newly launched #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY program, U.S. undergraduate students may also be interested in applying for the formal NASA Psyche mission “Psyche Inspired” program, led by ASU. Through this program, undergraduate students from any discipline or major can share the excitement, innovation, and scientific and engineering content of NASA’s Psyche mission with the public in new ways through artistic and creative works. The application for next academic year’s class will be available in late summer 2019. Interested students are encouraged to check back on the website for more information and the application.

The Psyche Mission

Psyche, an asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter, is made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal. As such, it offers a unique look into the violent collisions that created Earth and the terrestrial planets.

The Psyche spacecraft is planned to launch in August 2022 and travel to the asteroid using solar-electric (low thrust) propulsion. After flying by Mars in 2023 for a gravity assist, the spacecraft will arrive at Psyche in 2026 and spend 21 months orbiting the asteroid, mapping it and studying its properties.

The scientific goals of the Psyche mission are to understand the building blocks of planet formation and explore firsthand a wholly new and unexplored type of world. The mission team seeks to determine whether Psyche is the core of an early planet, how old it is, whether it formed in similar ways to the Earth's core, and what its surface is like.

The spacecraft's instrument payload will include a magnetometer, a multispectral imager and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. The mission will also test a sophisticated new laser communications technology, called Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC). 

The Psyche Mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program. Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton is the director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. Other ASU researchers on the Psyche mission team include Jim Bell (deputy principal investigator and co-investigator), David Williams (co-investigator) and Catherine Bowman (co-investigator and student collaborations lead).

The mission is led by Arizona State University. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the mission’s overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations. Maxar Space Solutions, formerly Space Systems Loral, is providing a high-power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis.

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration


ASU researchers to present at international conference on human-computer interaction

May 6, 2019

A team of researchers from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering will present their work this week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing, the premier international conference of human-computer interaction.

The team includes doctoral students Jennifer Weiler and Piyum Fernando and Assistant Professor Stacey Kuznetsov. Photo of artist drawing ASU researchers tracked and visualized the movement and pressure of an artist’s pencil on an easel. Download Full Image

The team designed a research probe that unobtrusively tracks and visualizes the movement and pressure of an artist’s pencil on an easel. They conducted studies with artists and experienced art viewers to explore how sensing, visualizing and sharing these aspects of the creative process might shape art-making and -viewing experiences. In a paper titled “A Rough Sketch of the Freehand Drawing Process Blending the Line between Action and Artifact,” they explore future directions for human-computer interaction systems that sense and visualize aspects of the creative process and the social considerations for sharing and curating this intimate creative process.

All three researchers are traveling to Glasgow, Scotland, to present the paper at the 2019 ACM CHI conference.

The team is part of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering’s Social and Digital Systems transdisciplinary research collective. The SANDS group supports open participation in science and public engagement with scientific issues, and the research enables community knowledge sharing, artistic expressions and civic activism that emerge from amateur science work, according to Kuznetsov.

Stills from video renderings of artists' drawings

Researchers captured stills from video renderings of four different artists drawing the same object.

“We develop, deploy and study low-cost systems for creative science work in contexts such as hackspaces, art studios, citizen science communities, homes, schools or across social media platforms,” Kuznetsov said.

Visit sandsystems.org for more information about the research group.

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator, School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute


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Students showcase the inspiration they discovered at Roden Crater

April 29, 2019

ASU's partnership with artist James Turrell leads to thought-provoking artwork

Roden Crater, a large-scale art installation of light and perception in northern Arizona, is seen by only a few hundred people every year. This past year, 60 Arizona State University students were able to visit and study the artwork as part of a new collaboration with artist James Turrell.

Many of the students described the experience as transformative and overwhelming, and it inspired them to create an amazing array of art, which they displayed on Monday at the Tempe campus.

“My experience at the crater was tough to put into words, and that’s the constant struggle we’ve all been having,” said Celina Osuna, a graduate student in English.

“It was a shared group experience and yet so highly individualized.”

The students’ artwork included videos, sound installations, performance, photography, literature, paintings and textile art. Some wrote poetry about volcanic deities or imagined Star Trek episodes. One class got up at 4:30 a.m. during their visit to photograph dawn breaking near the crater. 

Many of the showcase exhibits were interactive. Visitors could crawl into an inflatable dome and don a virtual reality headset to experience the crater. Brandi Cooper, a graduate student in the School of Art, invited participants to make “seed bombs” out of mud, water and seeds to draw attention to the environmental impact of Roden Crater. Students in the “Indigenous Stories and Sky Science” course put up a black tent outside with Navajo constellations in the ceiling.

Roden Crater art showcase

Digital culture senior Sophia Burgess creates a seed bomb with seeds from 19 native annuals and perennials that she'll toss in a special location during monsoon season. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

The five “field lab” classes included immersive coursework with visiting experts. Students studied sacred architecture and indigenous astronomy, learned about color from a theoretical astrophysicist and had a workshop on the sense of taste. One student built a sensory-deprivation chamber to better understand perception. 

But the centerpiece of all five courses was the visit to Roden Crater, with the classes taking the trips at different times. 

“I had been working on ideas of perception and studying James Turrell,” Osuna said. “I was reading the books, looking at the photos and seeing all the videos, and nothing can supplant the experience of being there.

“It shows the importance of place and scale and how that can affect so many of us from different disciplines.”

Eliza Weber, a Master of Fine Arts student in ceramics, created a 9-foot-by-9-foot installation on the sidewalk made entirely of wispy yellow palo verde blossoms called “At our feet, above our heads.” She visited Roden Crater in February with the “Art and Sensory Acuity” class.

“Turrell’s pieces are about experience and I’m an object maker,” she said.

“But an object felt strange to me for this. So for this, the process is the piece rather than the object, which is ephemeral.”

Roden Crater is a transdisciplinary fusion of art, engineering, astronomy and architecture that manipulates viewers’ perceptions. One installation is a 900-foot-long tunnel that acts as a pinhole camera, which Weber found profoundly moving.

“The tunnel was almost a life-and-death phenomenon,” she said. “It’s this interesting way of walking toward the light where it’s, ‘Are you going to life or to death?’”

Wanda Dalla Costa

Professor Wanda Dalla Costa discusses her class, "Indigenous Stories and Sky Science," at the ASU-Roden Crater Field Labs Showcase in Marston Exploration Theater in ISTB 4 on April 29. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Wanda Dalla Costa taught the “Indigenous Stories and Sky Science” course and took her class on a five-day trip to visit indigenous sites in northern Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Dalla Costa, an architect, is Institute Professor in The Design School, associate professor in the School of Construction and a member of the Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta, Canada.

“We took a journey before the crater to set up the contextual space,” she said. “This is a deep space and it has a lot of deep history. There were a lot of other subjects that we had to understand.”

The students visited ancient indigenous structures aligned to the solstice and Hopi petroglyphs. 

“We had to study boundaries. What part of this story is ours to tell?” she said. “It was a much different experience for us by the time we arrived at the crater.”

Selina Martinez, who is pursuing a master’s degree in architecture and is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, was in Dalla Costa’s class.

“The biggest thing I learned is that there are so many other stories that exist there. There are other perspectives and the individual experience we got at the crater was amazing, but there was a collect experience we had as a group that gives you the community side,” she said.

Turrell attended the showcase and participated in a moderated discussion with Ed Krupp, an astronomer and the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The two men attended Pomona College together.

“I got into in psychology because in art classes if you took blue paint and yellow and mixed them you got green but if your took blue light and yellow light you got white light, which is a surprise. It was very important to understand the psychology of perception,” Turrell said.

Krupp said that both men were drawn to astronomy, which seeks to find meaning.

Roden Crater art showcase

Environmental design junior Nicole Algien created a display of photographs taken while on a field trip in a class with Institute Professor Wanda Dalla Costa, a part of the ASU-Roden Crater Field Labs Showcase. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

“The facts lead to understanding of a greater picture of the cosmos, and that’s the purpose of doing astronomy. It’s not to create a stamp collection of what is out there but to understand how in the world all of this is working together,” he said.

ASU started the partnership with Turrell earlier this year. The collaboration will help complete Roden Crater, where Turrell has spent decades working on the installations. The enterprise seeks to raise $200 million to complete the project, which is about one-fifth done, and to build infrastructure at the site, including a visitors center. 

ASU and the Skystone Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money and operates Roden Crater, are in the midst of a year-long planning process, funded by an anonymous gift of $2 million, to determine the scope of the project. The field labs were pilot courses as part of that planning process, which is being led by Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“For us, we were thinking of Roden Crater as an extraordinary learning laboratory like none that has ever existed,” Tepper said at the showcase on Monday. “What would it look like to build a learning enterprise around a singular, masterful work of art and how could that drive generations of future learners and scholars to think and create in response to this?

“We want all of our classes to achieve that sense of wonder at the possibilities.”

Ed Finn, founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, taught the “Approaches to Light” course.

“Classes like this are why I came to ASU,” he said. “Light is so fundamental to our experience. Civilization is a story of our manipulation of light from fire all the way to lasers.

“The challenge for students was to figure out what to do with this overwhelming topic.”

Stephanie Gonzalez, a graduate student in the School of Art, said that Roden Crater made her question the notion of art.

“I came back and went into my studio and looked at my work. I wondered what I could do with my practice to reshape the question of what art can be.”

Top photo: Artist James Turrell (right) has a discussion with his Pomona College classmate Ed Krupp, long-time director of the Griffith Observatory, moderated by ASU Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper, at the ASU-Roden Crater Field Labs Showcase in Marston Exploration Theater in ISTB 4, Monday, April 29, 2019. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


ASU Music Theatre and Opera’s new works initiative creates path to a Pulitzer Prize for composer

April 26, 2019

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music went to the composer of “p r i s m” — an opera that had its first developmental workshop at the Arizona State University School of Music and was commissioned and developed by a School of Music alumna.

The opera was one of the first projects workshopped at ASU as part of the Music Theatre and Opera program’s new works initiative, which is forging a new 21st-century model toward the creation of new works and establishing ASU as a major developer of new and innovative music theatre and opera. p r i s m workshop "p r i s m" workshop at ASU. Download Full Image

“The initiative exposes students to the creative process of new work development and provides them with the pedagogical experience of working directly with composers and librettists and collaborating with internationally recognized professional artists and organizations,” said Brian DeMaris, artistic director of the Music Theatre and Opera program.

During the “p r i s m” workshop, composer Ellen Reid, librettist Roxie Perkins and ASU alumna Beth Morrison, whose company commissioned and produced the opera, were in residence at the school and worked with music theater and opera students.

“The new work readings are an important way for our students to experience hands-on how operas and musicals come into being through the development process,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “By working with cutting-edge role models, our students are gaining valuable experience and developing a set of skills not found in many collegiate programs today.”

Since 2016, the new works initiative has worked with students, alumni and outside partners to develop new works at ASU, with most continuing on to additional professional workshops and world premieres. After the “p r i s m” workshop at ASU in 2017, the opera went on to receive its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in 2018, earning rave reviews and an East Coast premiere at the 2019 New York City Prototype Festival. The Pulitzer jury praised the opera as a “bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: the effects of sexual and emotional abuse.”

“The initiative is an opportunity for our music theater and opera students to contribute to growth in the field and highlights the power of the musical stage to communicate about complex social issues and transform society,” Landes said.

DeMaris said the new works initiative incorporates the values of ASU, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the School of Music by assuring students have the opportunity to create something new; emphasizing opera and musical theater as a critical resource for transforming society; utilizing innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship outreach and connections; involving interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborative art forms in all aspects of design and the arts; projecting all voices through underrepresented composers and librettists; and promoting excellence in performance abilities.

The 2018–19 selected works were prime examples of use-inspired research, DeMaris said, and fused together the intellectual disciplines of art history, media, technology, diverse musical styles, video journalism and psychology.

“Behold The Man” is based on the real life story of artists Elías García Martínez and Cecelia Giménez and the botched restoration of the “Ecce homo” fresco in Borja, Spain; “Marie Begins,” an interactive jazz opera, utilizes clicker technology to enable the audience to choose the plot and outcome of the performance; and “The Anxiety Project,” in collaboration with the Phoenix Theatre Company, is based on a graduate psychology research project and real-life case studies. “Marie Begins” went on to additional performances at Tri-Cities Opera and “Behold the Man” recently won the Fort Worth Opera "Frontiers" competition and is featured in the Fort Worth Opera "Frontiers" Festival in May 2019.

Other past projects include “Babe: An Olympian Musical” (2016–17), which was the first work performed at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center as part of the new works reading series that stemmed from the new works initiative. “Babe,” which was composed by alumna Jill Higgins, went on to a full performance at the National Women’s Music Festival. For that performance, two music students were invited to reprise their roles from the ASU workshop. “The Halloween Tree” (2017–18), co-produced with American Lyric Theatre, is expected to receive additional workshops leading toward future professional productions.

More locally, “Til Death: A Musical,” co-produced with ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre, was featured at this year's Phoenix Theatre Festival of New American Theatre, exhibiting the work of recent ASU alums Alexander Tom (BM composition ’16, music composer) and Amanda Prahl (MFA theatre ’18, book and lyrics).

Additional collaborations between ASU and Beth Morrison Projects are currently being planned for future seasons.

The Music Theatre and Opera program boasts a 100% success rate of collaborating on pieces that have gone on to professional workshops and performances after ASU. As a result, the program’s directors have been invited to present on how universities can partner with producing organizations and composers/librettists in the development of new work. In January 2018, DeMaris was an invited presenter at the Opera America New Works Forum in New York with panelists Beth Morrison, Lawrence Edelson (producer, “The Halloween Tree”), composer Mark Adamo and program leaders from two other universities also engaged in new work development. He recently moderated a similar panel at the National Opera Association January 2019 conference along with three other universities on "Models of New Work Development in the University Setting," featuring ASU’s work with Morrison on "p r i s m."

“Development of works such as this is integral to our role as an opera and music theater program within a leading research institution,” DeMaris said. “ASU is among the very few research universities in the country who have been able to do this. Being invited to serve on national panels of industry professionals from around the world is a testament to our success. Our engagement with new work is one of the things that sets us apart from other collegiate music theatre and opera programs nationally and prepares our students for a future in an industry that we will never know. It is a growing trend that we have helped set, and my goal is for us to remain on the forefront.”

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music